Canada invites 3,400 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence

Canada has issued 3,400 invitations to apply for permanent residence to Express Entry candidates.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held this year’s second selection round on January 22.

Invitations were issued to Express Entry candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 471.

Minimum CRS score decreases in latest Express Entry draw

The Government of Canada issued 3,200 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence to Express Entry candidates in a draw held December 19. 

The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in this latest invitation round was 469, a decrease of three points over the previous draw held December 11.

The Express Entry system manages the pool of candidates for three of Canada’s main skilled labour immigration categories — the Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates are ranked in the pool based on a score awarded under the CRS that considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

A job offer is not required in order to be eligible for an Express Entry invitation to apply (ITA), though additional CRS points are awarded if a candidate has one.

A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the pool. These invitation rounds typically take place every two weeks and the vast majority involve candidates from all three Express Entry-managed categories.

The minimum CRS score is determined by factors including the number of candidates in the Express Entry pool, the time between draws and the number of ITAs issued.

Shorter interval between draws

The lower cut-off score in today’s draw may be attributed to the fact only eight days elapsed between invitation rounds.

When draws are held at shorter intervals, fewer new candidates with higher scores have time to enter the pool and that can have the effect of lowering the minimum required score.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) applied a tie-break time and date of November 14, 2019, at 08:41:33 UTC in this draw. This means that all candidates with a score of 469 who submitted their profile before this date and time received an ITA.

IRCC has now issued 85,300 ITAs in 2019. This is 4,500 ITAs short of the 89,800 that were issued in 2018, which stands as the most ITAs issued in a single year through the Express Entry system.

Under Canada’s multi-year immigration levels plan, the coming year will see the target for new permanent resident admissions through the three Express Entry-managed immigration programs rise to 85,800, up from 81,400 this year.

The admissions target for Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP, is also set to increase from 61,000 to 67,800 in 2020, a portion of which is managed by the Express Entry system.

Nine Canadian provinces and two territories have what are known as “enhanced” PNP streams that are linked to the Express Entry system.

These streams allow them to select Express Entry candidates and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence and many have lower or even no CRS score requirements.

Express Entry candidates who obtain a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their CRS score and are effectively guaranteed an ITA.

“The lower minimum score in today’s draw is what usually happens when IRCC holds draws in quick succession,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm.

“With Canada’s larger targets for 2020 and 2021, there’s always the chance of larger draws and possibly even quicker draws — and that would be great news for Express Entry candidates with lower CRS score.”

Who’s invited?

The following are hypothetical examples of candidates who would have obtained an ITA in today’s draw:

Bartek and Yakira are 32 and 33-years-old, respectively. They both hold a master’s degree and they both took the General Training IELTS test and have Advanced English proficiency in all four categories. Bartek has been working for four years as a data scientist outside of Canada. Bartek entered the Entry pool as the principal applicant, and his CRS score of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA in today’s draw.

Denis is 29 and holds a master’s degree. He has been working for four years as a business analyst outside of Canada. He took the CELPIP and has Initial Advanced English proficiency in all four categories. While Denis has never worked or studied in Canada, his CRS of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA during the December 19 draw.

John is 30 and holds a bachelor’s degree. He has been working for three years as an administrative coordinator outside of Canada. He took the TEF Canada exam and obtained 275 in Reading, 400 in writing and speaking as well as 330 in Listening. He also took a General Training IELTS exam and obtained 3.5 in Reading and 5.0 in Listening, Writing, and Speaking. John also has a sibling who is a citizen living in Ottawa. His CRS score of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA in today’s draw.

Ontario wants to double nominations for permanent residence by 2022

Ontario is looking to double the number of immigration candidates it can nominate for Canadian permanent residence through Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program. 

The province would like to increase its allocation under the Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP, from 6,650 this year to 13,300 in 2022.

Ontario’s Immigration Minister, Vic Fedeli, formally requested the increase in a letter sent recently to his new federal counterpart, Marco Mendicino.

The federally managed PNP allows participating provinces and territories to nominate a set number of Economic-Class immigration candidates each year for Canadian permanent residence.

Each province’s allocation under the PNP is set in accordance with the program’s annual admissions targets, which are established by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The PNP’s admissions target for this year is 61,000 new permanent residents, which is an increase of 6,000 over the 2018 target of 55,000.

The admissions target for the PNP in 2020 is 67,800.

Recent years have seen Ontario’s component of the PNP, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), receive the largest allocation among participating provinces and territories.

In 2019, that was 6,650 nominations, which was an increase of only 50 over the year before. An additional 700 nominations granted last week brought its 2019 allocation to 7,350.

Allocation falling short of labour needs

In an email statement to CIC News, the OINP said its allocation over the past several years has fallen short of actual labour needs in the province.

“Employers continue to express significant frustration that the limited number of nominations has hindered their efforts to hire foreign talent, which ultimately impacts the growth and sustainability of their businesses,” the statement reads.

The OINP said the letter sent to Mendicino proposes the “collaborative development of a multi-year planning process” with the goal of doubling the OINP’s allocation to 13,300 by 2022.

“We are awaiting a response from the federal government,” the statement reads.

The OINP said it is also exploring ways “to exercise greater autonomy and control over the selection of immigrants to the province.”

The OINP did not comment on how the additional OINP nominations would be distributed among its nine existing immigration streams or what percentage would be dedicated to the three pathways aligned with the federal Express Entry system.

One of these streams, the Human Capital Priorities Stream, has been used this year to address targeted labour needs in Ontario’s IT sector.

The OINP also did not say how an increased allocation would benefit the proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot, which could launch in early 2020 and will focus on attracting immigrants to smaller communities in the province.

Feds say new pilots will help fill gaps

A statement from Mendicino’s press secretary, Mathieu Genest, said collaboration is central to IRCC’s approach to immigration levels planning, which provides for an additional 27,000 admissions through the PNP over the coming years.

“We understand that provinces and territories play an important role in attracting and retaining newcomers to help grow our economy,” Genest said.

“We have consulted with provinces and territories to ensure that the levels plan meets their requirements to fill labour shortages and attract needed talent.”

Genest also pointed to the proposed Municipal Nominee Program for smaller municipalities and a new federal immigration pilot that will bring in additional immigrants to rural and remote communities in Ontario and Canada’s western provinces and territories.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot counts five Ontario communities among the 11 taking part in the program, which has an annual cap of 2,750 applicants plus their dependents.

Provincial push for more immigration control

Ontario’s push for new immigration powers follows recent overtures from the Government of Saskatchewan for greater control over immigration to that province.

Saskatchewan has set a population target of 1.4 million residents by 2030 and is planning for economic growth that could add 100,000 jobs over that time period.

Increased immigration is considered vital to these plans and the province’s Immigration Minister, Jeremy Harrison, has written Mendicino to request formal negotiations.

Currently, Quebec is the only Canadian province that has successfully negotiated a greater degree of control over immigration with the federal government.

The 1991 Canada-Quebec Accord grants Quebec full control over the selection of Economic-Class immigrants, among other powers.

Quebec could admit up to 44,500 new permanent residents in 2020

Quebec could admit 44,500 new permanent residents and issue 24,700 new selection certificates in 2020, the province’s immigration ministry announced Wednesday. 

The majority of new admissions to Quebec in 2020 — 59 per cent — are expected to come through the province’s economic immigration programs, including the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).

The province’s immigration ministry said its targets for 2020 respond to Quebec’s labour needs “while respecting its capacities for welcoming and integrating” the new arrivals.

The levels, which provide for an increase of 2,700 over its maximum of 41,800 newcomers this year, reflect the governing Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ)’s promise to progressively increase immigration levels to the province after reducing them by around 20 per cent.

The CAQ said the reduction was necessary to ensure new arrivals are properly integrated into Quebec’s majority French-speaking society and its labour market.

Quebec’s Immigration Minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, said Wednesday that the province’s immigration level could return to above 50,000 — the level it was at when the CAQ won office in 2018 — by 2022.

To find out if you are eligible for immigration to Quebec

Maximum 22,000 skilled worker admissions in 2020

Quebec has set a range of between 25,500 and 26,300 new admissions for its economic immigration programs, including a maximum of 22,000 skilled workers.

The province has a maximum of 3,600 admissions for its business immigration programs, which include the Quebec Entrepreneur Program and the Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program.

A maximum of 700 admissions is also set for “other economic categories” such as caregivers and others.

The remaining 18,200 new permanent residents are slated to arrive through family sponsorship, refugee and other immigration programs.

2020 Quebec Selection Certificate targets

Under the provisions of the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec has the power to select all Economic Class immigrants and certain refugees to the province.

Those selected are awarded a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, or CSQ) and can then apply to Canada’s federal government for a permanent residence visa.

Quebec says around 71 per cent of total admissions to the province should be selected by the province.

Quebec’s plan calls for issuing between 20,100 and 24,700 selection certificates in 2020 — slightly less than its plan for 2019, which had a range of 20,200 to 24,800.

The majority — up to 15,000 — would go to skilled worker candidates.

The selection certificate targets are as follows:


2020 Selection certificate target

Skilled Workers  12,500 to 15,000
Business people  2,100 to 2,800
Other economic categories  600 to 800
Refugees (overseas)  4,500 to 5,500
Other immigrants  400 to 600

New requirements added to Quebec Experience Program

Quebec has introduced major changes to the requirements that international students and those with work experience in Quebec must meet in order to obtain permanent residence.

The changes affect the Quebec Experience Program (Programme de l’expérience québécoise, or PEQ). Some changes take effect on November 1, 2019, while others only start in the new year.

The province has not confirmed if these changes will affect pending applications to the program.

A key change is the introduction of an in-demand occupations list (available in French only) for worker applicants.

Those with work experience in the province who wish to apply to the PEQ must now have worked in an occupation on the list. The amount of work experience required depends on the job’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.

Those who work in occupations on the new in-demand list that are rated NOC 0, A, or B must have 12 months of Quebec work experience.

Those who work in NOC C or D occupations on the list need 18 months of work experience in the province.

International students applying to the PEQ will have to ensure their area of training is one of the Quebec degrees listed under sections A and B of Quebec’s Area of Training list.

That list is available here.

In addition, international students who are enrolled in a 900 hour Quebec program will be required to complete six months of work experience following their studies. The work experience must be related to their field of study. Eligible programs are listed in the document above.

Language requirements

As of January 1, 2020, changes to language requirements will affect both groups of PEQ applicants.

In order to demonstrate their French proficiency applicants will have three options:

  • take a standardized test;
  • meet the criteria set by a professional order; or
  • complete at least three years of full-time studies in French at the secondary or postsecondary level.

New language requirements will also be imposed on spousal visa applicants.

Both the applicant and their spouse will have to demonstrate a high intermediate level of French, or a CLB 7 or 8.